I thought about titling this “Celebrating Eric Milton's Triumphant Return To The Operating Room” but that's only half the story here, and it's too long for a title that only tells half the story.
We probably won't have Eric Milton to kick around anymore. He's due for Tommy John surgery on Friday, which means he's finished for the year and probably finished as a Red.
Milton was already on the DL, so we don't get to call up anybody to replace him, BUT since the Reds have also placed Jared Burton on the 15 day DL with back spasms, they do get to call up somebody for that….and that somebody is (drum roll, please) none other than Todd Coffey, who just got sent down on June 8 and would otherwise have had to stay in the minors for at least ten days. But with Burton going on the DL, the Reds can take advantage of an exception to that ten-day rule and call up Coffey anyway, which they've done.
That's the other half of the story. Except that…well, the Reds can't simply option Burton to the minors because he's a Rule 5 guy, who would have to clear waivers and be offered back to Oakland first. But if he's hurt, they can DL him, which gives him a maximum of 30 days in the minors on a rehab assignment when he comes off the DL.
Then again, the first time Milton went on the DL this year, coming out of spring training, it was for back spasms, and now he's going to have a ligament replacement in his elbow (which is what Tommy John surgery is).
So, is this Kriv-Dawg finding a creative way to get around all that Rule 5 red tape and get Burton some additional seasoning in the minors? Or should we be looking forward to the day in August when Doc kremchek looks down at the unconscious Burton on the operating room table, extends his gloved hand toward the OR nurse, and says, “Scalpel” in the usual monotone voice used by surgeons in that situation?